Australasia

Happiness at work trumps money for most Australians

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What is more important to you at work: happiness or money? If you’re like me, you’ll be wondering why you need to choose. And yes, I’m the first to argue that “both” is a reasonable answer in the real world. But let’s say… Caitlin Fitzsimmons Brisbane Times If you’re like most Australians, you’ll plump for happiness. Nearly two out of three Australians value happiness over work, according to a survey commissioned by workplace meaning and happiness consultancy Rise. The poll, ... Read More »

Dutton, the au pair affair and the question of abuse of power

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Kim Wingerei questions why it’s necessary for ministerial positions to have such overarching powers of discretion that they can overrule established protocols. IA FROM WAVING AU PAIRS through the immigration queue, throwing money at unsuspecting charities and denying medical treatments for children, to ignoring climate change and the bullying culture that is endemic to Liberal Party politics, the Government has shown power but… It happens all the time, mates calling mates asking for favours. But when AFL CEO Gillian McLachlan emailed ... Read More »

The case to set aside one day of the year to remember our great artists

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In Australia, we hold state funerals for political leaders, however divisive or unloved they may have been while they lived.  And we grieve the departure of sporting greats. Julian Burnside Daily Review Perhaps we should set aside one day each year to remember great Australian artists who have died during the past year. So far in 2018, a significant number of great creative Australian talents have died: painters Charles Blackman (b. 1928) and Mirka Mora (b.1928); photographer Polixeni Papapetrou (b. 1960); cartoonists: Jeff Hook ... Read More »

Lies, ‘fake news’ and cover-ups: how has it come to this in Western democracies?

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The Liberal leadership spill and Malcolm Turnbull’s downfall is but the latest instalment in a game of musical chairs that has dominated Australian politics for the best part of a decade. Joseph Camilleri The Conversation For many, it has been enough to portray Tony Abbott as the villain of the story. Others have pointed to Peter Dutton and his allies as willing, though not-so-clever, accomplices. There’s also been a highlighting of the herd instinct: once self-serving mutiny gathers steam, others ... Read More »

Corruption watchdog has no way of measuring its productivity: audit

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The agency responsible for investigating corruption in Australian law enforcement bodies has been told it has no way of knowing how efficiently it investigates corrupt conduct, and to pick up its act, in a… Sally Whyte The Canberra Times In the first audit of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity by the Australian National Audit Office, the watchdog was told it needed to improve how it manages cases, and how it… The auditor general couldn’t say whether the commission was ... Read More »

‘A convicted terrorist and a convicted spy’ walk into the Opera House… and get a standing ovation

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Days after it was announced that she would not be granted an Australian visa in time for her scheduled appearance in Sydney, American whistleblower Chelsea Manning has received a standing ovation after speaking at the… Maani Truu WAtoday Ms Manning, who is best known for leaking classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, was speaking with Australian journalist Peter Greste as part of the weekend’s Antidote Festival, albeit by virtually appearing on stage via… “A convicted terrorist and a convicted ... Read More »

Australian Catholic Church rejects calls for priests to report child abuse confessions

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Australia’s Catholic Church has rejected calls for priests to be compelled to report child abuse revealed in confessionals. By Euan McKirdy and Ben Westcott, CNN The Church said Friday it would accept “98%” of recommendations made by a high-level government inquiry into child sexual abuse, which uncovered shocking accounts of widespread abuse inside… But church leaders said that they would maintain the sanctity of confession, arguing to remove it would infringe on religious liberties. “The only recommendation we can’t accept ... Read More »

Refugees in Indonesia don’t want to get on boats. They want basic rights

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If they get access to a fair resettlement process, refugees won’t be interested in anything people smugglers are trying to sell Asher Hirsch The Guardian This week, home affairs minister Peter Dutton again reiterated the false claim that “there are 14,000 people in Indonesia waiting to get on to boats now”. I’ve just returned from a research trip in Indonesia, where I spoke to many refugees. Such a claim is not only disingenuous, it also highlights the double standards of ... Read More »

China and human rights: Is Australia ‘making a difference’?

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Australia’s relationship with China has been tumultuous of late: political scandals, security threats, a perceived need for draconian new legislation, angry rhetoric from Beijing. Sophie Richardson Brisbane Times It’s not a surprise that officials, including members of the new Australian government, and ordinary people across Australia have struggled to find the right answers to a complex and charged relationship. But as Australia tries to strike a balance between benefiting from and being threatened by its relationship with Beijing, a key ... Read More »

‘If I’ve got death threats, I’ve probably said something worthwhile’

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Sally Rugg remembers when she first realised “ordinary people” could create change. “When I was six or seven, the state government of WA was trying to build this huge road that would have gone through my primary school,” she recalls. Mary Ward The Canberra Times “So the community sort of banded together to save the school.” Two decades later, the LGBTI activist, best known as an instrumental figure in the Yes campaign during last year’s postal survey for marriage equality, ... Read More »

A ‘woman problem’? No, the Liberals have a ‘man problem’, and they need to fix it

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Politics isn’t rational. Prejudice trumps performance. Politics is run by thugs. Chris Wallace The Conversation These are three reasonable conclusions from the snubbing of electorally popular Julie Bishop in last week’s Liberal leadership ballot, and Bishop-ally Julia Banks’ decision not to stand at the next election to protest bullying during the leadership campaign. Why did it happen? Does politics have to work this way? There are four facets to why Bishop, far away the most likely to maximise the Liberal ... Read More »

Nauru’s asylum seeker tents demolished ahead of Pacific Islands Forum

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Sources say move intended to spare visiting leaders the sight of people living in notorious camp Helen Davidson, Saba Vasefi and Ben Doherty The Guardian Nauru’s government has moved asylum seekers out of the detention centre and demolished the tents ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum next week. The tents at regional processing centre 3 (RPC-3) were erected five years ago, and at least 100 people have continued to live in them since the facility was deemed “open” in 2015. ... Read More »

Indigenous suicide in custody: ‘How have lives just slipped away?’

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Guardian Australia has uncovered 20 suicides since 2008. Each death should have been prevented Jack Banister The Guardian Megan Williams was in her last year at school when the findings of the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody were released in 1991. The Wiradjuri woman, now an academic at the University of Technology, Sydney, remembers feeling “so confused that people could die in state care”. “I was a student grappling with that injustice, but never thinking that would be ... Read More »

Me and Mr Jones: What I know about media bullies

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I identify with Malcolm Turnbull. With Mike Baird. With Kevin Rudd. Jenna Price Brisbane Times And (more predictably) with Julia Gillard. I haven’t got tickets on myself. I am not now and will never be a member of any political party. I will never be elected by the Australian people. But like those four, I was targeted. Vilified. Mocked for my appearance. Been subjected to false and malicious commentary. Like those four, I’ve experienced emails demanding the Powers That Be ... Read More »

Book Review: Behrouz Boochani’s unsparing look at the brutality of Manus Island

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It is a matter of wonder that Behrouz Boochani was able to write No Friend but the Mountains at all. Alex Reilly The Conversation He did so while in Manus prison, using text messages in Farsi on smuggled mobile phones. Egyptian and Australian academic Omid Tofighian worked closely with Boochani to translate the text into English. In a detailed introduction to the book, Tofighian explains that Boochani’s writing contributes to a Kurdish literary tradition. He describes his style as “horror ... Read More »

Au revoir Mirka Mora, your joie de vivre will live on

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Mirka Mora has left us, at the age of 90. She will be missed by her family and friends, who recall her sunny personality and formidable appetite for life. Sabine Cotte The Conversation But for all art lovers, her work will continue to shine in the city she contributed so much to: in front of Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station, at St Kilda Pier, on the walls of the Tolarno restaurant… In reflecting on Mirka’s life and work we should remember ... Read More »